While we may wish the rules were different, there are a few time-tested Truths about growing and maturing. They take work. And they also involve patience, persistence, and sacrifice.

No Olympic champion ever won gold by eating a diet of candy bars and taking naps every day. To attain a high level of achievement, hard work is not optional.

Our walk with God is no different. In order to be the type of Christians who truly personify the hands and feet of Christ in every aspect of our lives, we must work hard.

The apostle Paul explained why he insisted on being a disciplined Christian:

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)

When we are not stretching ourselves, when we are not growing, we are stagnating spiritually. We miss out on God’s best for us at that moment. To obey God at every turn is to honor Him to the fullest. But, it’s not easy.

Making the conscious decision to disobey God shows how prideful we really are. Conversely, deciding to obey God exemplifies a spirit of true humility.

Even though we may think God’s plan looks impossible, through faith and trust in Him, we will arrive at the conclusion that He indeed knows best. And when we are walking with God, certain His every move is for our best, we will grow to heights only God knew we could reach.

Prayer: Lord, help me resist the temptation to do what looks easiest and instead always obey Your voice. Strengthen me that I may fulfill Your work. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Joseph: Portrait of a Winner: LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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